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Separating Truth from Religious Behaviors and Rituals (Part Three)

Faith as Substance!

Therefore let no one judge you in regard to food and drink or in regard to [the observance of] a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. Such things are only a shadow of what is to come and they have only symbolic value; but the substance [the reality of what is foreshadowed] belongs to Christ.” – Colossians 2:16-17 (AMP)

Scripture is clear that the reality and substance of life is Christ and the faith of Jesus Christ – what His grace knows to be true of us and our world in our union with Him – our co-resurrection in Him! (Galatians 2:20).  This is also revealed in Hebrews:

  1. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” – Hebrews 10:1 (NIV)
  2. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

The reality (substance, material) of the believer’s life is the blessing of God in Jesus Christ (see also Colossians 1:13; Galatians 3:13-14) and our whole new reality of existence in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). Darkness however, has no real substance or reality. It simply means there is an absence of light, and throughout Scripture, darkness is used to symbolize a lack of understanding about our identity and blessings in Christ (Isaiah 60:1-3; Colossians 1:13-15). This is why sin (anything that is the result of the fall of man, such as sickness, disease, punishment, condemnation and pain etc.), is the Greek word ‘hamartia’. Romans 3:23 in the Mirror Bible explains this perfectly:

Everyone is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (The word sin, is hamartia, from ha, negative and meros, form, thus to be without form or identity…” (MIRROR WORD).

Sin and darkness have no real, active form or substance. The word ‘sin’ itself means ‘without form’! Throughout Scripture, Jesus, the substance, is referred to as light (John 8:12; John 1:4; John 12:46).Darkness, however, is simply the absence of light, which means that Jesus and His reality is the ONLY one that has substance –  He enlightens the believer to their true identity, and the objective reality of Christ as all in all  (Colossians 3:11). He enables us to live within, engage with, and enjoy true reality, experiencing and manifesting the substance in and through His finished work. We have become partakers and receivers of God’s substance! Our bodies, our minds, our lives, and our relationshipsflower-181984_960_720 have gone from empty-desert wanderings to a blossoming garden of exuberance, beauty, creative-joys – all the substance of life! Truly life is an adventure of bliss and glory!

Christ’s faith in the power of His cross and resurrection (and your inclusion in that) is your effortless connector to all supernatural blessings and bliss, your ‘light switch’ in this world. Simple trust in His perspective enables you to see ‘in’ and ‘through’ Christ’s eyes, effortlessly flowing with the frequencies and vibrations of reality, manifesting all that Christ is and has in the here and now. Ephesians 3:6 declares to us that through the Gospel we become partakers of the promise of Christ (KJV).  This is why you cannot actively receive darkness and curses, as darkness is nothing. Christ’s light has come to reside within you, and the darkness has fled! Darkness has no form, order or substance to receive from. It does not belong in your reality or world anymore and has no hold in it. Simply knowing this truth enables us to be set free from feeling an obligation or necessity to engage in many religious behaviors and light-bulb-1407610_960_720.jpgrituals that pass as ordinary and commonplace in the church. You do not need to engage in warfare when joy-fare is rich and abounding in the substance of reality and power, because it engages with God’s faith, with the objective reality of Christ and life in Him! (see Nehemiah 8:10).

Being ‘in Christ’ means that you have been engulfed into the reality of heaven on earth in the here and now, to sink into it and enjoy it. Darkness and light is not in an active battle. Jesus poured out all of the wisdom of His substance in His cross and resurrection to release you into the revelation and subsequent manifestation of His life and the goodies of His heart and imagination – you have been plunged into the reality of realities! This truly is joy unspeakable and full of glory! (1 Peter 1:8; KJV)

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” – Colossians 1:13 (NIV)

You do not need to live a life of religious suspicion or paranoia, which has no relevance to Christ and His finished work (the new, eternal age of the Gospel!). You cannot actively receive ‘the curse’, or even any curses, because the curse has no substance to actively receive from, and you are already in possession of the light-substance of Christ, which fortifies you!

 Many religious burdens are placed on people through false teachings in this area. The truth is that curses are without form and substance. They do not exist in your reality, the objective reality. So, for example, even when you or people around you speak negatively and not in faith, it does not impact or affect reality, as it is not drawing upon any negative substance. It’s not drawing upon anything at all! Yet whenever you enjoy the realities of faith in any form, that POSITIVE substance effortlessly flows into your world by grace through faith, protecting and fortifying you from sin, sickness – all darkness – because power-poles-503935_960_720.jpglight is reality, and no darkness can withstand it. It is this reality of light that HAS rescued you from the life of sin (no form, no reality), where you stumbled about in the dark, vulnerable to every ‘work’ of darkness.  

There used to be a ‘source’ that people COULD receive bad from (well more accurately, a system in which people could not engage with the good, as the law is not of faith – Galatians 3:2). However, the law was only a shadow, and Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). The curse no longer exists anywhere, it is not in reality, so there is only one source that believers can receive from, enjoy and flow with, the Holy Spirit. If someone doesn’t trust in Holy Spirit, and speaks and lives in a faithless manner, it does not mean that they will receive the bad – as the bad has no active form or substance – it just means that they aren’t actively enjoying the light (the realities of the Gospel) in those moments.

You are in union with the Godhead and can enjoy all that they are and have in the here and now!!!

As we believe in – simply co-see with God –  the finished work of Jesus, we naturally and effortlessly enjoy and experience the blessings of faith and grace – and so do our families, who get actively blessed through our faith. Negative words and actions have no active spiritual consequences; they just don’t have any positive power to release the blessings and substance of faith, so the person engaging in negativity isn’t enjoying the realities of faith in that moment. This is why Christians do not need to get into religious behaviors and rituals to try to ‘balance’ or ‘counteract’ faithless words or works. A lot of prophetic ministry today is shadowboxing, engaging in empty religious behaviours and rituals with no spiritual value, as Christ already completed the work and defeated the devil! Christ has already carried us into the substance of all blessings, the comfort and detailed affections of His love-dream come true!

Christianity should not be about what we have been delivered from (as looking back to the ‘dominion of darkness’ is pointless. We’re not there anymore!). Christianity is all about girl-918734_960_720what we have been delivered TO! – This is engaging with and enjoying the power-packed, creative-joy dynamite of faith!

Today, you can simply enjoy the realities of the Gospel, knowing that the faith of Jesus Christ is the only reality, and that as a believer, you ARE naturally in the Spirit and surrounded by heavenly blessings and realities at all times (see Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:25). There is NO condemnation and NO active spiritual consequences or curses for us in Christ (Romans 8:1). That is why Psalm 23 says that goodness and mercy are CHASING after us, as they are the only active forces – blessing is active, it has substance. However, darkness is like ‘the valley of the SHADOW (without form, substance, or reality) of death’ (see Psalm 23:5), yet even when we walk through that as believers, we walk WITH Christ, and his truth effortlessly leads us out of any areas of wrong beliefs and words (shadows).

Many preachers act as if darkness has substance, as much substance as faith even, but that is not true, and it places unnecessary demands and burdens upon people. Faith is substance, which is why when we enjoy faith in any form, we can actively, effortlessly move mountains with the realities of blessing that is released. God is so good and he is the Source!

The message of Christ’s finished work (our co-resurrection in Christ and subsequent inheritance in Him!) renews our mind so that we can enjoy the blessings of Jesus that are already ours, and be effortlessly transformed as a result, more and more in the natural realm, in a way that blesses us, others around us, and our circumstances (hence why the blessing of Deuteronomy 28 reaches to external circumstances and even farther – to our homes and families)…..That is why whenever you enjoy and comprehend faith, you know and can rest assured that your entire family and home is irrevocably, irreversibly blessed as a result, without you having to lift a finger! You’re all blessed and you can’t do anything about it – you certainly can’t speak your way out of a manifestation of that blessing, as all blessings are BY FAITH THROUGH GRACE. So there’s no words or efforts involved, and therefore no words or efforts which can disqualify you from receiving. FAITH, the active substance of blessing, is released WHENEVER the Gospel is heard:

  • “faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ.” – Romans 10:17 (AMP)
  • “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)
  • “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:16 (KJV)

However, because we can ‘receive’ faith in a manifest way, does not mean we can ‘receive’ darkness. Darkness has no substance. Faith is light, and darkness has never understood, threatened, or come near that light. It just flees from it (John 1:5). Just like when you switch on a light, all the darkness flees. Darkness is not an active force, and all darkness ‘died’ on the cross with Jesus when he made a spectacle of all principalities and powers through the revelation power of His reality….So words and actions are NEUTRAL if they 16are not an outflow and overflow of Christ’s substance of blessing and hope. The power is not words or our efforts or actions, but faith – faith is all about Christ and the realities of blessing we have through his finished work. Faith is co-knowing with God what He knows to be true of us in our union with Him. That is where the power is.

So carry on enjoying faith in grace-rhythms, in the ways that are normal, natural, and personal to you. You don’t need to counteract anything. Warfare is swallowed up by joy-fare in the New Covenant, because Jesus won the battle and carried you and your family to the victory, so you can enjoy and experience all of His blessings without hindrance or opposition! Under law, when the unclean touches the clean, circumstances became unclean. But under grace, your cleanliness in Christ is a constant reality, and so the unclean becomes clean effortlessly.

You are filled with the substance of faith! You can’t receive darkness, only blessing.swimming-1925391_960_720.jpg Believer, be set free from religious rituals and behaviours! Allow the Gospel to enlighten your mind, and as this occurs, religion will effortlessly fall from you, and you will discover yourself living effortlessly in the unforced rhythms of grace!

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” – Ephesians 1:17-23 (KJV)

Separating Truth from Religious Behaviors and Rituals (Part Two)

A Defeated Enemy!

One of the lies of burdensome religious beliefs is that negative actions and words need to 63be counteracted or balanced with faith-filled ones; otherwise you may receive something negative or be vulnerable to the enemy. This lie has caused many to live within the bondage of ‘religious’ (superstitious) behaviors and rituals. When someone explores the prophetic without a proper revelation of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, the result is often superstition, religious behaviors, rituals, and paranoia!

The truth of grace is that Jesus single-handedly saved you, plunged you into heaven on earth in the here and now, and preserves you in this superior existence. Your reality is resurrection-glory! Therefore as a believer you cannot actively receive anything negative – faithless and negative words and actions have no spiritual power or dominion over you – they do not exist in your fresh, new reality of the vitality of Jesus Christ, in which you share in all of the goodies of His resurrection, being filled with that same glory! (See John 17:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:12). You reside in the new world of heaven on earth in the here and now, completely separated from the old world and old ways of do-to-be-mentalities, manipulation, superstition and control. Religion speaks a dead language and has been 21made completely irrelevant to you through the resurrection-life of the Spirit that flows through your veins. You are completely dead to sin, demons and the demonic realm, as well as to complicated mechanisms to try to control, maintain, and sustain your spirituality/spiritual experiences (see Romans 6:11).

At one time, you were the master of your own spirituality, and reaped the fruits of that, but now, through the finished work of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1 (PHILLIPS) astounds us with the reality that we are God’s ‘holy and blameless children living within his constant care.’ We live within the finished work and detailed care of Jesus Christ. God has given us a constant, ever-flowing supply of blessing that counteracts and transforms all curses effortlessly. We can radiate the light of Jesus within us, so that anything negative that touches us is itself transformed to light! (John 1:5; Psalm 36:9). We are surely surrounded with favor as a shield! (Psalm 5:12). Demons do not exist in your realm, because you are in Christ, one with His resurrection, and flowing with these resurrection realities organically, naturally, and effortlessly. Galatians 2:20 (AMP) declares to us that:

“I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

In other words, in and through Christ, you can view yourself and your world through resurrection eyes. See how the J. B. Phillips translation writes Galatians 2:20, “And my present life is not that of the old “I”, but the living Christ within me.” – Just as Christ is the light the darkness flees from, you are also filled with this same light, this same favor, this same glory! You can consequently live with the declaration of Galatians 6:14, “But let it not be for me to take pride except in the crucifixion of our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, in whom the universe has been crucified to me, and I have been crucified to the universe.” (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) – Allow yourself to organically, naturally, 64effortlessly radiate the bliss-filled, love-lavished glory of your co-resurrection with Christ as you perceive the crucifixion which has taken place – a crucifixion that, in Christ, has ushered in the radiance and knowledge of God’s glory in every nook and cranny of human existence (Colossians 2:3; Habakkuk 2:14; Romans 8:19). Your works could never accomplish or attain even one iota of what Jesus did in one fell swoop at the cross!

You are in heaven on earth in the here and now. Ephesians 1:6 (KJV) announces that: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The Greek word for ‘accepted’ used here is ‘charitoō’, which speaks of being completely encompassed by favor. You are fortified, established, and preserved in the reality of your co-crucifixion with Christ (by which every principality and power that was against you was completely destroyed – see Colossians 2:15), and in your co-resurrection in union with Christ, where you share in His new, holy nature, desires, and possess all that Christ is and has. This is exactly what it means when Colossians 1:13 in the Weymouth New Testament comments that “It is God who has delivered us out of the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us into the Kingdom of His dearly-loved Son,” – The language of Scripture delights itself in the fact that we are already in a new Kingdom, where the old world of demons and religious boogeymen has completely passed away. 2 Corinthians 5:17 expresses this gleefully:

  • “So if any one [be] in Christ, [there is] a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new:” (Darby Bible Translation)

  • “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” (Word English Bible)

  • “Therefore, if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creation. Old things have disappeared, and—look!—all things have become new!” (International Standard Version)

I also love the way that the Amplified Bible articulates in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we are in a new world ‘because spiritual awakening brings new life’. Christ’s spiritual awakening 24blossoms effortlessly throughout our own human existence, because his belief inspires and expresses our own! (See Romans 1:17; Psalm 36:9; Romans 10:17).

In Matthew 2:18-20 (KJV) Jesus declares: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” – If Jesus (and consequently you, who are in Him), have all authority, then the devil clearly has none! Luke 10:19 (KJV) unmistakably states the same thing; “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” – Believer, today hear the words of Jesus, that nothing can actively harm or curse you! You do not need to maintain your salvation; Jesus has already secured and established you in an unshakable Kingdom of His love, grace, and blessings! (Hebrews 12:28). As John Crowder in his book ‘Mystical Union’ says, “I don’t know much about your principalities but I do know about mine!”

Many religious teachings view the enemy as an active, looming force. However, Scripture shows that this is not the case – the enemy has already been totally destroyed and plundered (See Hebrews 2:14; Colossians 2:15). We are not fighting for victory, but resting in our seat of already established victory in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Trusting in God’s grace will always fortify us from any wrong or false mindsets that would cause us to strive or strain. We live within His established victories; His detailed care of us! This is why Scripture mentions ‘the wiles of the devil’ (Ephesians 6:11; KJV), as the devil is completely and totally powerless, so you can only be deceived by unrenewed mindsets in yourself as well as in others. These unrenewed mindsets however are not an active force or substance and do not leave the door open for an active enemy. The enemy is completely defeated. In fact, even your mind is on an adventure of discovery, through the Holy Spirit (your heavenly tour guide of this whole new world in Christ!) into realising how gloriously redeemed and perfect it is. 1 Corinthians 2:12, 16 tells us that:

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God… For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (KJV)

Discovering our righteousness and grace in our co-crucifixion and co-resurrection with Christ (our inherited blessings!) will always, without fail, set us free – free from unrenewed mindsets, free to see every blessing of God manifest throughout our lives (John 508:32). The enemy has no active force or power to get at us or cause anything bad to happen as a consequence of us not fulfilling any religious ‘duties’ or ‘burdens’. He doesn’t even exist in our reality anymore. One of the Scriptures that really articulates this is Colossians 2:15 (KJV):

“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

The key to this verse is in the word ‘triumphing’, which makes reference to the Romans’ ‘triumphant procession’, which would take place to show that an enemy was completely powerless and had been conquered thoroughly. In a triumphant procession, the defeated king would be stripped naked in front of his subjects and dragged through the streets, with his thumbs and big toes cut off. This was to show that the defeated enemy was now laughable, unable to hold a sword, run, or engage in any kind of attack. There was nothing to fear of this foe[1]. The risen Jesus took the keys of death and hell away from the enemy,65.jpg and in our union with Him gave us the keys to heaven on earth in the here and now (See Revelation 1:18; Matthew 16:19; Revelation 3:7) . The enemy is not an active force and has no power or authority. Unfortunately, a lot of believers have missed this memo, and feel that as a result, they need to place upon themselves religious burdens such as Old Testament models of prophecy…

(Keep an eye out for part 3 next week!)

 

 

[1] http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/spiritual_authority/

 

Limitless Life Devotional

The Enemy is Powerless!

Hebrews 2:14-15 (KJV)

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” 

The finished work of Jesus Christ is designed to completely free us from fear, particularly fear of a looming enemy who is able to actively attack us with sickness, sin, and disease at any time! However, many religious frameworks live unaware that Christ has destroyed the devil, although it is clearly stated in Scripture, in Hebrews 2:14-15. The Amplified version of this verse declares that through the finished work of Jesus, the devil has been rendered powerless and impotent. Beloved of God, you do not need to empower the devil in your imagination through legalistic religious rituals, which are based on superstition and fear rather than on the truth of Jesus Christ – your true reality. Colossians 2:15 (AMP) states clearly that: “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through the cross.” – Colossians informs us that Jesus made a public example of the enemy, using the language of a Roman ‘Triumphant Procession’, in which a completely defeated enemy was shown to be rendered entirely powerless and unable to ever engage in battle again. This is why you can be bold and confident that your co-crucifixion with Christ and co-resurrection with Him has plunged you into an entirely new world of heaven on earth (2 Corinthians 5:17). You triumphed over the enemy and completely plundered and defeated him at the cross, because you were ‘in Christ’! – Jesus took the keys of hell and death back from the devil (Revelation 1:18) and gave those keys to us, so that we could walk in manifest, manifold blessing, and effortlessly release heaven on earth wherever we go (Matthew 16:19). Nothing shall by any means harm you! (Luke 10:19)

Christ has given you all authority. Ephesians 1:19-21 reveals that as a believer God’s power is within you – the power that is above all other principalities and powers – and you are co-seated with Christ in his resurrected state, fortified in all of God’s blessings! (Ephesians 2:6). This is why you can confidently live in the revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, unafraid of the devil. The power that raised Jesus from the dead, that same power that disarmed all principalities and powers, lives within you and you are of one nature and one spirit with that power! (1 Corinthians 6:17). Throw off any legalistic teachings that make you devil-conscious, superstitious, fearful and paranoid! Jesus encourages us to stop being demon-conscious and to be conscious instead of our new life in Christ, which is a demon-free, oppression-free zone forevermore (Luke 10:20). Warfare is simply joyfare now, as the light of Christ within and through us – our new nature in Christ and the reality of grace – causes the darkness to effortlessly flee. When you step into a room, people naturally get delivered, healed, and restored, without you having to lift a finger. 1 John 3:8 encourages us that “…for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (KJV). In other words, the manifestation of God in Christ’s finished work, and within you, effortlessly has destroyed, and actively destroys, the work of the devil!

Remember, you do not base your theology on past experience in ‘deliverance’ groups, but on the finished work of Jesus Christ. Good theology is based on the truth of the revelation of Jesus Christ, His love, and His grace, and not on negative experiences. Jesus came full of grace and truth, and caused the darkness to flee by completely destroying it from our reality and life. Colossians 1:13 utters that Christ “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (KJV). We HAVE (past-tense) been translated out of a kingdom where the demonic can function and exist, and have been placed into perfect union with Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:6 writes that we are ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (KJV). The Greek word for ‘accepted’ used here is ‘charitoō’, which means to be encompassed, or surrounded, by favor. You are surrounded by God’s reality of faith and favor – what God knows to be true of you and your reality in your union with Christ. This is an evil-free, demon-free existence! It is the reality of light, which darkness cannot even approach. Instead, whatever touches this light gets transformed to light itself! All curses transform into blessings in your life, because you are encompassed by God’s favor in Christ! (Deuteronomy 23:5)

Remaining Calm and Composed in Christ

Scripture declares that we are destined to reign in life through the abundance of grace and the freely given gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). The Greek word for ‘reign’ used in 43.jpgScripture means to ‘exercise the highest influence; exercise kingly authority’ over a situation. In other words, the revelation of our righteousness in Jesus and the grace we have been gifted with in Him will cause us to walk in royal authority and confidence, knowing that every situation and circumstance is destined to conform to God’s blessings. As you rest in the Gospel of grace and your inheritance in Christ, your situation is destined to come under your feet (Hebrews 10:12-14), you are destined to reign above it and remain on top of things (Deuteronomy 28:13), so that you will see all things working together for your own, personal good (Romans 8:28). God is so creative that he can completely transform any and every bad circumstance so that it ends up working for your favor.

Child of God, as you walk in a relational awareness of God’s grace and your righteousness in Him, not only are you destined to see complete restoration in your circumstances (Joel 2:25-26), you will also see what Romans 5:17 calls God’s ‘MUCH MORE’ restoration – restoration that is over and above what circumstance calls for, over and above what you expect or deserve, over and above what you have experienced before; even over and above what you could ask, think or imagine (Isaiah 61:7; Job 42:10; Ephesians 3:20). In fact, you are destined to experience such an overload of restorative, sweet, favor-filled blessings that Scripture declares that the shame, insecurities, and anxieties of the past will be completely forgotten (Ezekiel 39:26; Isaiah 54:4). It doesn’t matter what you’re going through, what you’ve been through, or how long you have been stuck there, God is willing and able to bless you in such magnitude (according to His grace and not according to your efforts, how much you deserve it, or whose ‘fault’ the situation was), so that those things will have NO effect on you anymore and no trauma, sorrow, regret, or pain attached to them. Instead, rejoicing will have swallowed up sorrow, and beauty will remain in place of 44.jpgashes (Isaiah 61:3). The promises of God are able to speak personally into each situation in your life. For every contradiction, concern, or trial, there is a promise of God found in Scripture and given to us freely in Christ, so that not only you, but your whole family, entire household and all of its appliances and rooms, can be furnished fully with the blessings, security and provision of Scripture (2 Corinthians 1:20; Psalm 122:7; Jeremiah 33:6; Deuteronomy 28:1-13).

Believe it or not, it gets even better than this. Scripture declares that as you continue to walk in the revelation of ‘the abundance of God’s grace’, and your ‘free gift of righteousness in Him’, you are going to grow in such an understanding of this that:

“He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee” – Job 5:19 (KJV)

In Scripture, the number seven always points towards completion and perfection. In other words, you can get to a place in your walk with Jesus where you have such a full and complete revelation of God’s grace, and your inheritance in Him, that your life will be smooth and trouble-free forever more, with not a hint of evil, trouble, or contradiction. As we are growing in our understandings and revelations, sometimes trials and contradictions come up against us. We can be confident that God is delivering us, and will deliver us every time, as Job 5:19 in Scripture says. However, God’s intent is for us is that we would always experience an evil-free, curse-free existence, abounding in blessings! You have been redeemed from EVERY curse, to EVERY blessing imaginable (Galatians 3:13-45.jpg14). This is because your righteousness in Christ is both a defensive weapon to protect you from harm, and an offensive weapon to cause curses and evil to flee.  2 Corinthians 6:7 (KJV) declares: “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”

Spiritually, the righteousness of God is the substance of light, and it fortifies us from darkness, the works of the enemy (see John 10:10), and all contradictions. Our righteousness in Christ is a powerful revelation: Psalm 37:8 (KJV) declares that God will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and Psalm 91:11 (KJV) says that those who know they are righteous sow light wherever they go. Let’s take a look at what Isaiah 58:8,11 says about God’s light as our protection:

“Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard…And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (KJV)

This verse declares that the revelation of our righteousness in Christ will go ahead of us into each circumstance, making the path smooth and ushering in God’s provision blessings! It will also completely cover our past, so that no matter what mistakes we have made, no darkness, punishment, guilt, condemnation, or fear can come upon us (see Romans 8:1). This is what a believer looks like when they know that they have the free gift of righteousness and the abundance of grace! They are completely free, and totally fortified in God’s unconditional, irrevocable blessings! (Galatians 5:1). This is why John 1:5 (AMP) comments that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot find or 46.jpgcomprehend it!

The glory and beauty of these grace-truths make us bold in the reality that we have the ability, power, and security to be calm in the midst of opposition, knowing that no harm shall come near us or our loved ones (Psalm 91:10), and that God’s favor surrounds us as a shield so that we can live a smooth life of uninterrupted blessings, health, peace, and security (Psalm 5:12). Luke 10:19 boldly declares: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (KJV) – Behold these truths, beloved! They are freely yours through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness!

 

 

 

 

How Does Obedience Fit Into the New Covenant – Part Two

By Paige Hunt

In our last article we spoke about how obedience fits into the New Covenant – it is the effortless result of receiving the love of God, and abiding in the revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is natural to conclude, then, that just as obedience is the fruit of right believing, disobedience is caused by unbelief.

Sin and disobedience are not the problem, and God is not an angry judge waiting to punish and harm people who are living in sin and disobedience. 1Rather, God looks upon those in messy lifestyles of sin and disobedience with love and compassion, understanding that the root of these issues is unbelief, and people’s behaviour is merely a result of that. The deepest issue is not sin and disobedience, but unbelief in Christ, His love, and His finished work.

Did you hear that? Sin and disobedience are not the issue. God has already dealt with those things through the obedience of Christ (see Romans 5:19), and has ‘sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.’ (Isaiah 54:9, NIV). Christ has already dealt with our sins on the cross, and he desires for all men to come to the knowledge of this through a full revelation of the New Covenant. Scripture declares that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4. ESV). Interesting to note is that the word for ‘desires’ used in this verse denotes not only a resolve to save, but a love and fondness for restoring, healing, and saving people. It is an emotional-filled word that speaks of the Father’s unconditional compassion and limitless grace.

This is our God, who Jesus revealed as ‘Father’. This is an intimate picture of life-transforming security, cherished relationship, and dependence. 562It is the relational Fatherhood of God that saves us from our disobedience, and not our own works and efforts, which in fact have the opposite effect and stir up more sin in our lives (see 1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:8).

“The pattern of Jesus’ life on earth gives insight into God’s method of transformation. He knows that you, like Zacchaeus (see Luke 19), will not be changed by performance, but by His Presence. The power of His love, the joy of His Presence, and the peace coming from His acceptance are far more capable of changing the human heart than rebuke, censure, condemnation, and rejection…” – John Sheasby, ‘The Birthright’: ‘Out of the Servant’s Quarters into the Father’s House’, p.93, bracket insert mine.

With this image of God as the Father of love and grace in our mind, let’s take deeper look at how God deals with disobedience in the New Covenant:

“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me;” – John 16:8-9 (NKJV)

What matters (as in the primary focus) is not your lifestyle, but your belief system, because what you believe will directly influence your behaviour. This is why Jesus in John 16:9 states that the Holy Spirit convicts non-Christians of unbelief. Another thing to note is that the word for convict used in this Scripture is the Greek word ‘elegcho’, which means ‘to convince’. God desires to convince non-Christians of their unbelief, so that they can come to believe and rest in the all-sufficiency of Jesus more and more, and find the successful, abundant life that God desires for them to have! (See Romans 2:4).

The solution to any and all areas of wrong behaviour, of toxic emotions, and of failure is the finished work of Jesus, and hearing of the beauty and love of God as displayed in Christ. Hearing the good news will always inspire faith in our hearts, transforming our beliefs and giving us the abundant life freely (Romans 10:17; John 10:10). 563Even as believers, we can sometimes believe, act, and live as if we were still in the domain of sin, but through the Good News message the Holy Spirit continually convinces us that in Christ, we have been rescued from the mess and mire of sinful, disobedient living (Colossians 1:12-13). Jesus has qualified us to live without sin and disobedience, to walk in step with His Spirit within us!

Another way that Jesus explained how God deals with those who are not producing healthy fruits (which many would view as disobedience) is in his metaphor of the vine and the branches in John 15:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” – John 15:1-5 (NIV)

Pruning and being cut off sounds pretty painful, and legalists love to use this verse to say that unless we are obedient, we will find ourselves under the punishment of God. However, Scripture says no such thing. In fact, the Greek term for cutting off these unfruitful branches is actually the word ‘airō’, which is better translated here as ‘lifts up’. This makes much more sense in the world of agriculture from which this imagery came. Paul Ellis explains this eloquently in his online article:

Unfruitful branches are lifted out of the dirt and re-dressed so they can be nourished by the sun. Sticking with that metaphor, the reason why some Christians are barren is that they’re facedown in the dirt and not looking at the Son. They’re busy, distracted, stressed, and have wandered from their protos agape, their primary love.” – Paul Ellis, ‘What Happens to Unfruitful Branches?’ [escapetoreality.org]

For believers and non-believers alike, sinful living is simply the result of not knowing how much God loves us, or how good this Good News message really is. Furthermore, pruning in our English terminology means ‘to remove unwanted parts’. However, God is our Creator and our Father, and he loves all that he has made! (See Psalm 145:9). No matter how disobedient you are, you will never be an unwanted or undesired part. In Greek, the word for pruning used in John 15 is ‘kathairō’, more accurately translated in this verse as ‘cleansed’. This is why Jesus declares to his disciples, who have been regularly hearing his words, ‘you are already clean (katharos) because of the word I have spoken to you’.

So God’s cure for disobedience is heaping upon us grace after grace! (John 1:14; John 1:16). 564God’s cure for disobedience is to speak the Good News over our lives, elevating us with the message of Christ’s obedience on our behalf! As we soak up this message, we begin to understand how much God loves us, and we effortlessly manifest the fruits of God’s Spirit and walk in His obedience. (See also Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17).

“Think about the relationship between a vine and a branch. Can a branch produce fruit? No. If you need proof, just cut a branch off a vine or fruit tree, and watch awhile to see how much fruit is produced. However, if a branch is attached to the source with a flow of life, it can bear fruit. The branch is incapable of producing fruit on its own….” – Steve McVey, ’52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday’

The Gospel message reveals to us the righteousness that we have obtained in Christ, and effortlessly produces God’s faith in our lives.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:17 (KJV)

Jesus does not want us to be self-focused – to live by faith in ourselves, where we are constantly under the mentality of ‘right vs. wrong’, or ‘disobedience vs. obedience’. 565Instead, as we remain in an atmosphere of grace, where we can hear and believe the Good News, that Good News continually convinces us to rest in Christ’s all-sufficiency, eradicating unbelief from our lives. Scripture calls this ‘the obedience of faith’ (Romans 1:5).

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith” – Romans 16:25-26 (NIV), emphasis mine.

Limitless Life Devotional

Free to Live in Newness

Ephesians 2:14-15

‘But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace’.

Through the finished work of the cross the law (the Law of Moses and the system of striving under self-effort) has been abolished. Now, by ‘abolished’ I don’t mean just chucked out. Jesus didn’t come to just get rid of the law (Matt. 5:17).  He came to fulfil it (again Matt. 5:17). But after fulfilling the law it was made obsolete (Heb. 8:13). After Jesus fulfilled the law he abolished it.

As a New Covenant believer you are not under the law. Jesus has got rid of the law and has inaugurated a new system – a system of being led by the Holy Spirit. So I want to encourage you today; live under the New. Perhaps you are struggling in a certain area? Feeling discourage or worn-out? Battling with an addiction? Well, the law is not your answer. Putting yourself under law will only empower sin, misery, and defeat. The answer is in the new way of the Spirit. Instead of trying, start trusting. Now, I know it can sometimes seem impractical to embrace that which is unseen and to trust the in the ‘supernatural’, but the Holy Spirit is so capable! God is your supplier, and he hasn’t got a supply that is plagued by a drudgery attitude! He loves to see you enjoying your inheritance! He loved to supply your supply!

Christ and his finished work has accomplished so much; including ‘Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances.’ Jesus desires for us then to live in the new way of the New Covenant. See yourself as God sees you. Live by the New. Stop striving under a system that is gone, dead and buried. Frolic in the new and eternal way of the Spirit. As you do you will see effortless holiness and freedom manifest like Jesus himself was in you… oh wait…

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